On March 2011, this massive tidal wave overwhelmed the coastline of Japan. The cause was the massive 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan that caused the massive ocean swells.
As the event unfolded, I knew I had to paint this tragic site unfolding on TV. The impact was multiplied when the nuclear plants on the coast, the worst being the Fukushima plant.
Why do you think the authorities were slow to release data to the public?
At the time of the disaster, the plant managers thought they had the plant under control. Then the US embassy released a danger zone for the plant much larger for than the Japanese authorities that caused panic for the public there.
There was also a slow release of the number of victims that died in the tsunami. This was a cultural difference in that Japan they only release statistics once the bodies have been confirmed.
What has been the cultural impact of the disaster?
Historically, Japan has always been hit by tsunamis resulting from massive earthquakes, so there is a large historical connection to this disaster in art. Here we see the famous Great Wave woodblock print in the 1830s with Mount Fuji in the background.
The Great Wave off Kanagawa – Hokusai
Are there popular artworks related to nuclear disaster?
Yes, since the US dropped the atomic bomb twice on Japan at the end of WWII, there have been fear stories related to the effect of nuclear contamination. The best known are Godzilla and other giant beings movies of the 1950s
What is the text in your painting?
The lettering says “Tsunami” in Japanese and the background is Chinese paper. It would have made more sense to use Japanese paper, since no Japanese nor Chinese would by a cultural combination like this.